The history of mining and skiing in Utah often go hand in hand, and that's certainly true of Big Cottonwood Canyon, with its adjacent ski resorts of Brighton and Solitude. In the mid-1800s, 2,500 miners lived at the top of this canyon in a rowdy tent city. The old mining roads make great hiking, mountain-biking, and backcountry ski trails. Rock climbers congregate in the lower canyon for excellent sport and traditional climbing.
Opened in 1936, Brighton is the second-oldest ski resort in Utah, and one of the oldest in North America. Just down the canyon, Solitude has undergone several incarnations since it opened in 1957, and has invested heavily in overnight accommodations and new base facilities since the early 1990s. As an area, Big Cottonwood is quieter than Park City or neighboring Little Cottonwood Canyon, home of Alta and Snowbird resorts.